First and foremost let me say that my prayers go out to WR Chris Henry. Since I also write the Bengals fantasy section, I can say that Henry had come a long way since his rookie year and he was well on his way to becoming a quality NFL receiver. Rest in peace, Chris!
Hopefully you listened to my advice last week as I went 15-16 on my picks and you are now either in the semi-finals or the finals depending on your league setup. I am getting a lot of emails asking if owners should sit Saints or Colts players now that they have locked up their playoff spots and the answer is no. Both teams are going for perfect seasons and as long as the hope is alive, you will want to play the respective players as if this was Week 5 instead of Week 15. Remember, now is not the time to get cute… keep doing what you've done to get you here.
##### Sit 'em
Jay Cutler:Speaking of Cutler, you will want to drop him if you haven't already. The Bears offense is in shambles and everyone is suffering. If you happen to own Cutler for some unknown reason, do not play him against a tough Ravens defense that allows just 208.2 passing YPG this season.
Eli Manning:The Giants are in a dogfight with the Cowboys and Eagles for a playoff spot, but this weekend they face the division rival Washington Redskins. The Redskins happen to be ranked 4th in pass defense and Eli Manning has shown he can be rattled. I'd find another option if you can.
LaDainian Tomlinson:The Bengals are ranked 3rd against the run and while LT is having a solid fantasy season, it is due to the touchdowns instead of the yards. This week I think the TD streak comes to an end and he is not going to be the RB1 you drafted.
Arian Foster: When news broke this week that Foster would be featured in the final few games, people ran to the waiver wire and picked up Foster hoping to have another Charles on their team. The problem with Foster is the rookie hadn't seen a single carry before last weekend and he averaged just 2.6 YPC in his career debut. Don't get too excited here, the Texans are a passing team.
Dwayne Bowe:Bowe is reported to be on track to resume his WR1 role with the Chiefs now that he is back from his four game suspension. The problem is that Matt Cassel has 13 TDs to go with his 13 INTs, and that doesn't bode well for Bowe's chances of success in his first game back.
Mike Sims-Walker: I am a big fan of Sims-Walker, but he is coming off a calf injury and the Colts are a tough matchup to have in a short week as the Jaguars play this week's Thursday night game. David Garrard is up and down with his stats and this is win or go home time for fantasy football.
Kevin Boss: Boss is a true all-or-nothing play for fantasy owners. In Week 11 he finished with 76 yards and 2 TDs, then in Weeks 12 and 13 he had a total of 32 receiving yards. Washington has a great pass defense and I wouldn't want to take the risk of playing Boss this weekend.
Miami Dolphins defense: The Dolphins have the impossible task of trying to slow down Chris Johnson and the rest of the resurgent Tennessee Titans offense. I don't think Vince Young is the answer at QB, but I know Johnson can take over a game and kill fantasy defenses on his own, which means I am going to avoid the Dolphins this weekend.
Question of the week
Q: Thank you so much for all your help last week in helping me set my lineup. Your advice about picking up the Tennessee Titans D propelled me into the second round in a most improbable way! In true Alcoa 'Fantastic Finish' format (if those were still around) I led by 9 going into Sunday night with no players remaining while my opponent had 2. His Giants D layed an egg and Larry Fitzgerald had a season-worst game as Kurt Warner & Co. gave up 7 turnovers. A miracle victory and my friend is still speechless on how he lost to me.
On to this week's crucial action to get me to the Super Bowl! My opponent has Schaub and Chris Johnson. So every point is going to have to count. I am down to deliberating kickers! (My current planned starters are in bold)
QB: Brett Favre, (alternate Orton though Orton is tough to sit with his matchup vs. OAK)
RB: Knowshon Moreno, LaDainian Tomlinson (alternates Mendenhall & Moats)
WR: Miles Austin, Sidney Rice (Yes they were waiver wire pickups early this season!)
Flex: Robert Meachem (alternates Mendenhall [I don't like his matchup vs. GB])
TE: Jermichael Finley (alternate Kevin Boss)
DEF: Seattle Seahawks vs. TB (Alternate is Cincy D vs. SD, but don't like matchup)
Kicker: Rob Bironas vs. MIA (alternate Garret Hartley vs. DAL)
What do you think of my lineup? (Ed in Fairfield, CT)
A: First, thank you for reading the article and for the great feedback! Now, about the lineup, I think you have it about right. Mendenhall and the Steelers are really slumping and I don't want to take a chance on him when I need to win to have a shot at the league title. Moats, on the other hand, has lost his job to a rookie that hadn't played before last weekend.
The changes I would make are Boss instead of Finley and Hartley instead of Bironas. I am not a fan of Boss' this weekend, but I would give him a shot before I would Finley because the Steelers are hungry for a win and Finley has been targeted more than any other Packers receiver over the last four weeks, which means he is due for a bad game. I normally don't get into the kicker talk, but Hartley is going to get some FGs once this game gets out of control, where as I think the Titans-Dolphins game will be a close one.
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